I was invited to be a guest speaker in a teleseminar on healing bulimia. Heather Fougnier is a fellow blogger and coach who has dedicated her career to work/life balance and health issues. She organized this seminar, and it was an honor to participate and share my own experiences with healing an eating disorder and fumbling my way towards a creative and happy life.
I’ve written about bulimia and eating disorders in the past, and I’m now writing this as a follow-up to the discussion I had with this group of powerful women. I hope this will help other people who are healing this same issue.
Admitting to Bulimia
I am frequently approached by women who are startled that I openly admit to having been bulimic. I guess it’s not hard to do this now because I don’t have any judgment of myself for having gone through it. It’s history. And I can honestly say that it no longer holds power over me.
It’s not that I don’t have days where what I call “bulimic thoughts” take over. (Read: anxiety and fear.) And it’s not that I don’t have moments where I catch myself using food to “numb” something. But it’s rare now. It doesn’t own me. I see the whole thing as a gift, and now I want to help other people as much as I can.
(Of course, these days, what I might be embarrassed to admit is how many times a day I crawl into my dog’s bed and sing little songs into her ear while she looks away and sighs.)
Expert Advice Versus Wisdom
I don’t claim to be an expert. And on the other hand, I do claim to be an expert. I am an expert of my own experience with bulimia. I went through it with eyes wide open. It has given me wisdom. That is what I offer here.
All the degrees and upper and lower case letters after your name make you an expert only on one level. A mental level. That is, knowing a lot about the disease. But until you’ve either experienced it or gone through it or worked with lots of people in it, all the mental knowledge in the world doesn’t create an expert. The best experts are those who have gone through the deep process that calls out a wisdom that is universal. It has very little to do with knowing what pills the pharmaceutical company tells you to prescribe.
A Few Ideas About Healing
Even though I’ve written lots of blogs with steps and how-to’s, mostly I don’t believe in steps or how-to’s. My experience as a songwriter, performer and observer of nature has taught me that virtually nothing is linear. Careers aren’t linear, and yet counselors make college students map out five-year plans. (Which don’t allow for serendipity or grace.) Shrubs don’t naturally grow in rows, and yet muggles plant them in orderly lines to create the illusion of control. (And don’t even get me started on ornamental cabbage!)
Still, I understand that, as humans, we need to articulate things linearly so we can grasp them. If every teacher said, “It’s all too big. You’ll see how it works once you go through it,” then no one would learn. So, I’ve compiled a few ideas about healing bulimia. These are pointers. They can point in a direction, but ultimately you will find your own way. I hope to encourage you simply that you CAN do this. Part 2 will be a post of these ideas.
One last note: Coincidentally, best-selling author Geneen Roth was a guest in a different teleseminar this week, in which I participated. One of the many wise things she said was, “How people express themselves with food is a microcosm of how they live, and what they believe they deserve to have.” I nodded to myself as she said this because as I healed, I allowed myself to taste food, to experience the depth of food, and to relish the best possible sustenance while rejecting the model of stuffing mere ingredients into my body. I learned to savor, experience, and deserve great food, and subsequently, a great life.
(Geneen is a fabulous writer. My favorite book of hers is Appetites. I also recommend When Food is Love. Actually, just take a look at them all!)
Check in tomorrow for Part 2!